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Unforgettable Kindness Leads To A Dream Come True At Walt Disney World Resort

posted on January 21st, 2016 by Robert Hitchcock, Content Director


“They will never know how much this means to me.” Those words from Kathryn Thomson following an unforgettable trip and surprise reunion at Walt Disney World Resort in Florida.

For more than 10-years Thomson has worked at the Acorn coffee shop at Elon University in Elon, NC. Not only does she serve up warm beverages but also provides warm kindness to thousands of students passing through her life each day. Warm conversation, southern charm and genuine interest in the students, Thomson is loved by all she touches.

On most nights Thomson listens to young people share their hopes and dreams, but late one evening in the coffee shop she shared her dream with two complete strangers, Taylor Zisholtz, a junior from Philadelphia, PA, and Lucy Smith-Williams, a freshman from Gainesville, FL. Someday she hoped to take her son, his wife and two grandchildren to Walt Disney World. A tough task for someone working two jobs to make ends meet. In an act of unforgettable kindness, the two students hearing her wish turned to social media and the Elon University community to raise money for Thomson’s dream to come true. Quickly the story became viral on social media channels. Reaching beyond North Carolina borders, the story was picked up by national media. Soon people from around the world were donating to make Thomson’s dream a reality. Within weeks Zisholtz and Smith-Williams were able to deliver the great news that Thomson would be able to take her family to Disney.

Unforgettable Kindness Leads To A Dream Come True At Walt Disney World Resort Unforgettable Kindness Leads To A Dream Come True At Walt Disney World Resort

This past weekend Thomson and her family traveled to Florida for an unforgettable family vacation. They experienced all four theme parks, a special meet and greet with Mickey Mouse and with a little Disney magic, a surprise reunion with the two college students who worked to make this happen.

Standing in front of Cinderella Castle, with a beautiful North Carolina accent, Thomson said, “It’s a dream come true.”

Following the principals of Cinderella herself, three strangers united by courage and kindness.

Three lifelong friends sharing an unforgettable experience at Walt Disney World Resort.

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Neighbors Helping Neighbors – Unforgettable Reunion Captured by Good Morning America at Walt Disney World Resort

posted on November 28th, 2015 by Robert Hitchcock, Content Director


Neighbors helping neighbors – random acts of kindness going above and beyond to help someone. It’s something we have all experienced and are thankful when it happens. Sometimes those acts of kindness are small, and sometimes they are big. Air Force Lt. Colonel Jack Spencer from Georgia and his family experienced that unconditional kindness in a big way.

While deployed to Afghanistan, Spencer’s wife Mindi and his two daughters remained in Georgia going about their day-to-day lives. As difficult as it was, simple things were made easier with the help of their amazing neighbors, Jeff and Amy Campbell. From helping with lawn work, taking care of pets and taking the Spencer family to dinner, the support was significant. The most unforgettable impact came when one of the Spencer children was involved in a serious auto accident in Texas. The support the Campbells gave Mindi was the help and emotional bridge she needed until her husband could return home on emergency leave.

Jack and Mindi Spencer have searched for a way to thank Jeff and Amy Campbell, and with help from Walt Disney World Resort and ABC’s Good Morning America they finally had the opportunity by giving the Campbells a family trip to Walt Disney World. An unforgettable one-of-a-kind experience that played out on Good Morning America this morning.

With the cast of Festival of the Lion King at Disney’s Animal Kingdom performing the song Circle of Life as a backdrop, an emotional and tearful reunion played out. Together both families then enjoyed a Thanksgiving feast and a ride on Kilimanjaro Safari.

We salute the Spencer and Campbell families, all military personnel serving our country, and those everyday people who make a difference in our communities by lending a helping hand and being good neighbors.

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Filed: Community Outreach, Disney's Animal Kingdom, Walt Disney World Resort

Unforgettable Moment at Walt Disney World Resort Shared With the Nation on ‘Good Morning America’

posted on November 26th, 2015 by Robert Hitchcock, Content Director


It was a moment Petty Officer 2nd Class Shannon Patrick Thompson and his family had waited years for, the chance to thank a United States postal worker from Virginia who literally kept Thompson’s family connected while he served our country in Afghanistan.

During his deployment Thompson provided much needed medical attention to men, women and children who were sick or injured by the tragedies of war. While this Naval officer provided distinguished service, his wife Irene and daughter remained back home in Virginia trying to maintain life as normal as possible. Providing care packages to her husband became vital in an attempt to keep that normalcy. This is where a hometown hero entered their life and provided the bridge of support the family needed. Ron Johnson, a postal worker in Salem, VA, provided the shipping expertise and words of encouragement Irene needed to get through those tough days of deployment – every time she came to the post office

Working with ABC’s “Good Morning America” and Walt Disney World Resort, Thompson and his family were able to thank Johnson in an amazing way with a trip to Walt Disney World Resort for him and his fiancé. A trip filled with one-of-a-kind surprises and an emotional reunion with the Thompson family. Unforgettable moments shared with the nation this morning on “Good Morning America“.

Following the reunion, both families were treated to a Thanksgiving feast and spent time together at Magic Kingdom Park. Unforgettable moments filled with tears of happiness, laughter and thankfulness.

We salute all the men and women in our armed services and the everyday people who make a difference in our communities by lending a helping hand.

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Walt Disney World Resort & ‘Good Morning America’ Create Unforgettable Experiences for Hometown Heroes

posted on November 24th, 2015 by Robert Hitchcock, Content Director


What better time to celebrate thankfulness than during Thanksgiving Week. With that in mind, Walt Disney World Resort and ABC’s “Good Morning America” worked together to create unforgettable experiences for two hometown hero families who went above and beyond to help others serving our country overseas.

Tune in to see how we created a dramatic twist on two surprise reunions this week on “Good Morning America.” On Thanksgiving morning a United State Postal worker from Virginia will be recognized for helping a Naval wife get care packages delivered to her husband. That will be followed up on Saturday morning when an Air Force Lt. Colonel gets the chance to thank neighbors who helped his family though difficult times, including an accident that seriously injured his 10-year-old daughter.

Walt Disney World Resort & ‘Good Morning America’ Create Unforgettable Experiences for Hometown Heroes Walt Disney World Resort & ‘Good Morning America’ Create Unforgettable Experiences for Hometown Heroes

These unforgettable Thanksgiving stories will air on ABC’s “Good Morning America,” this Thursday 7|8c and Saturday 7|8c.

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’80s Music Star Tiffany Talks About Unforgettable Disney Memories

posted on November 10th, 2015 by Robert Hitchcock, Content Director


She was one of the biggest musical artists in the ’80s. With hits like “I think We’re Alone Now” and “Could’ve Been”, Tiffany left an unforgettable mark on the music scene.

Recently Tiffany returned to Walt Disney World Resort and performed at the Eat to the Beat Concert Series, part of the Epcot International Food and Wine Festival. Over two nights she had guests dancing in the aisles and creating unforgettable memories. We caught up with Tiffany in the Magic Kingdom as she was reliving an unforgettable moment of her own. At the age of 17 she performed in front of Cinderella Castle for a Grad Night celebration. A performance that would lead to one of her top rated music videos of a Beatles remix, “I Saw Him Standing There”.

Reliving the past but keeping an eye to the future, Tiffany talked about sharing time in the parks with her son. Unforgettable memories both past and present.

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Extending Disney Magic at Select Orlando Magic Games

posted on October 30th, 2015 by Robert Hitchcock, Content Director


Orlando Magic fans will continue to experience a little extra magic at select games this season as Disney Parks extends its sponsorship of the Orlando Magic.

“We are thrilled to have Disney Parks continue with us as one of our Champions of the Community partners,” said Orlando Magic CEO Alex Martins. “As a pillar in the Central Florida community, Disney has established a great legacy. We are so excited to have them remain a part of our team to continue building upon that legacy together.”

With the sponsorship extension, Walt Disney World Resort will gain stronger visibility to showcase the Parks by enhancing its presence with digital and social media activations as well as signage and additional visibility within the Amway Center. The Disney Atrium will continue to immerse fans with an enhanced, interactive guest experience that allows for Disney video messaging to entertain fans.

Disney will also remain the Official Cruise Line and Official Theme Park of the Orlando Magic.

“Disney believes in Magic, and we’re thrilled to support the downtown venues that serve the community,” said Maribeth Bisienere, senior vice president of Disney Sports Enterprises and Disney Springs. “This sponsorship extension serves as another example of our company’s efforts to help make dreams come true across Central Florida.”

To mark this exciting announcement, Mickey Mouse stopped by a Magic practice, laced up his shoes and joined the team on the court as an honorary player. As you’ll hear in the video, the Magic players are just as excited to meet Mickey Mouse as anyone.

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Good Morning From Disney’s Hollywood Studios at Walt Disney World Resort

posted on October 19th, 2015 by Robert Hitchcock, Content Director


This morning we welcome the day from the Crossroads of America at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. The spinning globe with Mickey on top greets guests as they prepare to step into some of their favorite Disney movies and shows. The iconic tower is a great place to pick up souvenirs, autograph books and pens. Everything you will need just in case you bump into a celebrity or two.

Good morning from Disney’s Hollywood Studios, have a magical day.

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Good Morning From Spaceship Earth at Epcot

posted on October 5th, 2015 by Robert Hitchcock, Content Director


At 180 feet high, and 165 feet in diameter, Spaceship Earth stands as the iconic symbol of Epcot at Walt Disney World Resort. The 18-story geodesic sphere takes guests on a ride through time and demonstrates how advancements in human communication from prehistoric times to modern times have shaped the future every step of the way.

Sit back and enjoy one moment in time as we say good morning from Spaceship Earth.

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Good Morning From the Tree of Life at Disney’s Animal Kingdom

posted on September 21st, 2015 by Robert Hitchcock, Content Director


One of the things we like to do here on the Disney Parks Blog is take you places were you can’t go and show you things you may not get to see as a regular park guest. That mission continues today as we launch a bi-weekly video series, “Good morning from …”

Every other week we will kick-off your Monday morning with a sunrise from some of your favorite locations around Walt Disney World Resort.

So grab a cup of coffee, or your favorite morning beverage, and enjoy what I consider the best time of the day.

Good Morning From Disney’s Animal Kingdom and the Tree of Life.

Please leave a comment below and let us know what you think. Feel free to recommend a location for us to consider as we bring the best of Walt Disney World Resort to you.

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Disney Princesses Inspire 2016 Miss America Contestants

posted on September 10th, 2015 by Robert Hitchcock, Content Director


We are just days away from the 2016 Miss America being crowned in Atlantic City. Contestants have been dreaming and preparing for this once in a lifetime opportunity, preparation that included a trip to Walt Disney World Resort.

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Last month 52 of the most intelligent, talented and beautiful women representing their home states and territories gathered together for the first time to get a little inspiration from several Disney Princesses. Cinderella, Princess Tiana, and Merida talked to the girls about kindness, bravery, and hard work; attributes that might help them write their own fairytale ending.

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Following their Princess prepping, all the contestants joined the reigning 2015 Miss America, Kira Kazantsev for some fun in the Magic Kingdom and rides on their favorite attractions.

Here is a look at their unforgettable day.

So which contestant will have her dream come true and bring home the crown and scholarship? You can watch as Miss America returns to Atlantic City’s famous Boardwalk Hall, with live coverage of the final night of competition airing Sunday September 13 (9:00-11:00 p.m. ET) on the ABC Television Network.

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